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A drag queen won her suit against an extremist who called her a pedophile.

A drag queen won her suit against an extremist who called her a pedophile. She’s giving us all hope. This is about more than defamation; it’s about standing up to our bullies and saying enough is enough. 

Commentary by Barry Levitt Monday, February 5, 2024


READ ORIGINAL STORY HERE


In October 2020, Sainsbury’s, a major British grocery store chain, tweeted the following: “We are proud to celebrate Black History Month together with our Black colleagues, customers and communities and we will not tolerate racism. We proudly represent and serve our diverse society and anyone who does not want to shop with an inclusive retailer is welcome to shop elsewhere.” 

Lawrence Fox, British actor, leader of the new Reclaim UK political party, and then pundit for the right wing network GN News - did not like what he saw. He responded to Sainsburys with the following: “Dear @sainsburys, I won’t be shopping in your supermarket ever again whilst you promote racial segregation and discrimination. I sincerely hope others join me. RT.”


The GOP thinks that the flood of anti-trans measures will motivate its base and maybe win some Democratic votes.

Such provocative statements are destined to attract attention, especially on social media, and this one certainly did. Among those who responded to Fox’s tweet were columnist Nicola Thorp, Stonewall trustee Simon Blake, and drag queen Crystal, aka Colin Seymour, who competed on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK


Blake wrote, “What a mess. What a racist twat.”


Crystal tweeted, “Imagine being this proud of being a racist! So cringe. Total snowflake behaviour.” 


Thorp added, “Any company giving future employment to Laurence Fox, or providing him with a platform, does so with the complete knowledge that he is unequivocally, publicly and undeniably a racist.”


Fox retaliated to all three messages. “Pretty rich coming from a paedophile” he responded to Blake. 

“Says the paedophile,” he said to Crystal


And finally, “Any company giving future employment to Nicola Thorpe [sic] or providing her with a platform does so with the complete knowledge that she is unequivocally, publicly and undeniably a paedophile.” 


Later the same day, Fox tweeted “Language is powerful. To accuse someone of racism without any evidence whatsoever to back up that accusation is a deep slander. It carries the same stigma and reputation destroying harm as accusing someone of paedophilia. Here endeth the lesson.”


That “lesson,” however, did not end there. Crystal and Blake wound up suing Fox for libel. He countersued, and on January 29, 2024, the judge ruled in favor of Crystal and Blake, finding that Fox defamed the pair, with a likelihood of causing serious damage to their careers. The judge also found that their tweets calling Fox a racist were not likely to damage his career, and therefore he was not defamed. 


Here’s why this all matters. In a landscape where anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric feels like it’s at an all-time high, this victory is an enormous boon for queer people. 


The word “pedophile” has been repeatedly weaponized against the queer community, especially gay men and drag queens, for decades, but there has been a considerable surge in recent years. There seems to be no end to the baseless conspiracy theories and attempts to create division. Just the other day, an uncovered post from an Oregon GOP lawmaker claimed that “‘Drag queen story hour,’ or ‘family friendly drag shows’ clearly attempt to make pedophilia seem acceptable.” The scale of these attacks is terrifying, as a wave of anti-drag legislation has been introduced across the United States.


As stated above, this is far from the first time such accusations have been made about homosexuals. Singer Anita Bryant famously launched the “Save Our Children” campaign back in 1977, which effectively said homosexuality is directly responsible for harming children. But the idea of gays as “groomers” or “pedophiles” goes as far back as the Lavender Scare of the 1950s, a moral panic about homosexuals that ran parallel to McCarthyism. These kinds of baseless threats have existed for what feels like an eternity and have resulted in incalculable harm to the queer community.


Drag queens like Crystal are the entertainers that hold queer communities together. They bring us something that’s become harder and harder to find these days: joy. Seeing their fearless, passionate embrace of their authentic selves encourages queer people to embrace their own identities proudly and free of shame. Shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race have had an enormous impact on culture beyond strictly queer audiences, spreading a message of love and inclusivity all over the world. 


This impact seems to have struck a major nerve with the political right, which has whipped up a frenzy against drag queens, even going so far as to try and legislate them out of existence. With that has come a torrent of abuse towards drag performers, particularly online death threats, insults, and of course accusations of pedophilia. Fighting back (and winning) against online abuse is an enormous victory at a time when LGBTQ+ lives are under attack all over the world.


That’s something Crystal recognizes. 


In an op-ed for The Guardian, Crystal writes  “I’m watching the whole queer community breathe a sigh of relief and I realise a lot of others were holding that stress as well.” 


Even though the UK and US have completely different legal systems, it still feels like a victory for queer people stateside. It is, after all, about more than defamation; it’s about standing up to our bullies and saying enough is enough. 

As Crystal says, “I hope our victory serves as a warning to our increasingly rightwing politicians, to the GB News pundits, and to the nasty blue-tick accounts on X [formerly Twitter] that seem to be profiting from this kind of discord.”


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John Bellamy Responds: Well done to those people who take on the abuser, the racist, the homophobe and anyone who throws fear based ignorance around as facts in order to destroy another whose life is different to their own.

I was always told as a child that ' HE WHO SHOUTS THE LOUDEST - HAS THE MOST TO HIDE' - and when cowards like this appalling man screams that we are all perverts and paedophiles, all he does is muddy the water and confuse the ignorant public who believe his evil and WRONG rhetoric as most paedophiles ARE STRAIGHT MEN - NOT GAY / TRANS/ DRAG OR ANYTHING ELSE.


THE VAST AMOUNT OF CHILD ABUSE COMES FROM WITHIN THE FAMILY.





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